Pochettino ‘desperate’ for first trophy in England23 January 2024
Mauricio Pochettino says he is "desperate" to win his first trophy in English football after building a Chelsea team from "nearly zero" and leading them to the Carabao Cup final.
The Blues emphatically overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit with a 6-1 victory against Championship side Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, winning 6-2 on aggregate.
They will play either Liverpool or Fulham at Wembley on 25 February - the first cup final Chelsea have reached since losing both the EFL Cup and FA Cup on penalties to Liverpool in 2022.
Pochettino, who is yet to lift a trophy in England, lost in the final of this competition to Chelsea in 2015 and the Champions League final to Liverpool in 2019 when manager of Tottenham.
"I'm desperate to win a title here," said Pochettino, who won the first trophies of his managerial career at Paris St-Germain after being sacked by Spurs.
"In one year and a half in Paris, we won three trophies, and we want to win one here. I'm desperate to win, of course."
The Argentine has had mixed fortunes at Chelsea. With a number of young players signed, and a large number of injuries to the squad, their league form has been inconsistent.
However, the Blues have now put together a run of form, winning five of their past six games in all competitions, with the one defeat in that period being the semi-final first-leg loss to Middlesbrough.
"In some point, it's an amazing achievement," he added. "I think it was the objective when we started: With no Champions League, no Europa League, no Conference League, to build a team from nearly zero. Of course, that was the objective, to be at Wembley in February.
"The job is done but now it is about winning the final. From another side it is like it is not important as Chelsea is about winning the Champions League and Premier League.
"We need to start to realise and give credit to the team - as this is a team where a massive percentage didn't maybe play at Wembley [before]. It's important for the club, important for us and in this process to build a new team."
'Trophy would set a precedent'
Pochettino said after the semi-final victory that reaching the final will help to build the "mentality" of his "young team", many of whom have yet to play in a final of a major competition.
"It would be huge for him and set a precedent, in his first full year at the club, to win a trophy," said former Brighton and Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray on BBC Radio 5 Live.
"It is still a major trophy and he will see that as, he hopes, the start of a lot of silverware for the football club.
"The fans want to be top of the league and challenging for the Champions League, but if they can win some silverware, then that would be seen as a huge success and progression of this project at Chelsea.
"They understood what was at stake and that was saving their season. This can be a kick-start; this can be a confidence booster.
"It takes time to develop relationships and understand how your manager wants you to play and how fit he wants you to be. I think this could be a turning point. Things are starting to look up at Stamford Bridge."
Chelsea do not have much time to celebrate as they are back in action on Friday at Stamford Bridge as they play Aston Villa in the FA Cup fourth round.